Montreal Canadiens News: Habs Make Major Shift with New Boss

 
on May 06 2012 10:55 PM

A major shift has occurred on the seventh floor of the Montreal Canadians brass, and it's a refreshing sight for a franchise that became a laughing stock of the league after a season filled with class-less moves made by a man who many believe slithered his way to the top. 

Former General Manager Pierre Gauthier's reign of les Habitants was an utter disaster in public and player relations.  He not only traded away a fan favourite in the middle of a game, he also hired a coach he knew couldn't speak French, which made no sense from a man who was raised in Quebec speaking French.  To put it into perspective, it would be like General Motors hiring a new CEO who couldn't speak English. 

Language hasn't always been the main story in Montreal -- there have been coaches in the glorious past of les Habitants who didn't speak French, but that was before today's media age of wall to wall coverage.  The departure of the other province's team Les Nordique de Quebec in 1995 to Colorado didn't help things either, and as a result only increased the pressure for Les Canadiens de Montreal to be a French organization from the ice to the board room.

Interesting enough, the major shift doesn't have anything to do with language, it has to do with personality. 

The hiring of a local boy who has never worked for the Habs in Marc Bergevin is a shift away from the micro-managing personality of some who have come before him. Bergevin grew up in the tough working class of Point Saint Charles and has been in the NHL for more than 20 years as a player, and most recently as an assistant general manager with the Chicago Blackhawks.  He is known in the hockey world as a prankster, a joker, someone who never had top shelf talent on the ice, but was excellent at being the guy who kept his team-mates laughing and loose. 

In the world of hockey, these characters are never in a position of upper management.  For the Habs to be one of the first teams to be the leader in such a move is really a major shift from an organization that has been known in recent years as uptight.  

The honeymoon is officially on in Montreal, with the media and the fans, when it comes to the new boss in town. However, that honeymoon won't last forever as this is a city that bleeds bleu, blanc et rouge 365 days a year, and demands championships. 

It will not be an easy task for the young general manager to get the parade back on Ste-Catherine street anytime soon, but with the mentoring of a former great in Serge Savard above him in an advisory role, don't be surprise to see les Habitants being relevant and respected right away.  He surely has his work cut out for him, but with such stars in the mix such as; Carey Price, P.K. Subban, Max Pacioretty and the third-overall pick in this years NHL entry draft,  Bergevin has a great base in which to build a future championship team.  

In closing, there remains Patrick Roy situation. Well St. Patrick will surely get a look at being the next coach of the Montreal Canadiens, but that won't be Patrick's call, that will be Bergevin's. 

Whether he decides to bring in Roy or not, there is surely one thing he will learn, in the mainly French speaking province of Quebec everyone plays general manager whether they're French or English, and being that Roy is known as "St. Patrick" in the province of Quebec, Bergevin will be hearing a lot from his followers whether he hires him or not.

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